This is the last Coach Tip of the Week. The initial idea of this series was to provide general advices for training. It was definitively focused on running. The last tip is not totally dedicated to fitness and running and is rather a general advice. There is this old saying: “Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you’ll land among the stars” and I will definitively recommend to shoot for the moon. Put difficult goals and objectives, try to do the impossible. If you do not succeed, celebrate failures, learn from it and try again. By setting important and big goals, you will challenge yourself, go out of your comfort zone and experience the unknown.
Finally, believe in yourself: whatever the goal, until you try, you never know the outcome. Trying and doing your best does not cost anything. The only risk is to succeed. So, big dream, hope for the best. It sounds really basic, but derailing is so easy, there are so many distractions that will put you away from your objectives that you need to stay focused on your goals. Once you decide what you want and what are your priorities, success mostly depends on you.
However, do not trust yourself avoid to be over confident: always wonder if you are on the appropriate path to succeed, if you are doing everything to reach your goal. There will be always people better and more knowledgeable than you and they are not here to fight but help you. Learn from them, adapt your training, learn from books, online resources and discussion with other people. The running community is a fantastic resources with many people ready to help and give advices.
“You are a failure. You failed.” How much time do we heard this negative comments about ourselves? This world is primary driven by competition and a binary (good or bad) measure of our acts. This way is thinking is very restrictive and reactive: something is either positive or negative. The goal of this CTOTW is to remind you to embrace failure (i.e. when you did not reach your goals), to study it, learn from it in order to achieve them later (what people used to consider as success)
When you have a bad race, a bad day, learn from it. Try to analyze what happened and why it did not match the scenario you was looking for. Your speed was not consistent and you do not know why? Analyze your splits, nutrition and hydration! You was tired during the race? How much did you sleep the week prior to the race? This is by analyzing our failures that we can transform future experiences into success.
We tend to put the responsibility on somebody else. Keep others accountable and responsible for missing our own problems. Most of the time, the problem is not the others but yourself. For sure, sometimes, an external event ruins our day (for example, if a guy pushed you on a trail and you tripped) and there is nothing we can do about that. But most of the time, we are the solely responsible for our own failure (for example: I was tired because I somebody invited me to a party last night and I did not sleep enough before race day). Do not deny it, embrace it again and learn from it to make you better. We are humans after all, learning creatures, this is by learning that we eventually meet our goals and pursue our dreams.
Know who you are, what are your limits, your goals and set your priorities accordingly. Stop lying to yourself and when you missed your target, do not blame others for your own failure. Take your responsibilities: learn from this experience so that it does not happen again. If it happen again later, it might mean that either the goals or priorities are not the one you really want. In that case, this might be time to reconsider them.
Today, we have not one tip but two (lucky readers!): about how much to increase your weekly mileage and what weekly distance you should do before a race. When it comes to increase your mileage, stick to the 10% rule by increasing your weekly mileage by 10% at max. Failure to do so (increasing too much) will then result in injury, intense fatigue and potentially stop running. In addition, do not add too many days from one week to another. Try to observe a regular training schedule (for example, from 3 to 4 days a week). If you want to add a day, please do so but try to balance the mileage in order to avoid potential injury. This rule has been discussed in a lot of forums, some people disagree, other proposed another method but so far, it seems to be the one that works!
There is also a lot of debate about the weekly distance you should be running during a race. I am terrible in training plans and never followed one. It is too boring and I always felt that a training plan forces me to do a particular efforts whereas to me, running is a fantastic method to refresh my mind and get away for any constraint. However, there is a rule I always observed regarding the weekly mileage: try to be comfortable running slightly more the race distance during few weeks. For example, if I you plan to run a marathon, logging 30 miles a week for a few weeks is probably a good strategy. If you plan to run a 50miles, having several weeks with 60+ is a good idea. The main reason is a big part of running is mental: by making more than the distance within a week and having rested appropriately, you know you can do it. Another reason is by running the distance several times, your body is still used to the efforts and exertion of such an effort and would then be ready for the physical part of your endeavor.
Finally, monitoring your weekly mileage is very easy and can be done automatically using your smartphone an an app such as mapmyrun , a GPS watch. So, there is no reason for not doing it!